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eG Cook-Off #77: Asparagus, the Spear of Spring


David Ross
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I bought my first local asparagus yesterday.  This was a side dish for our dinner tonight.  Roasted asparagus sprinkled with lemon juice, and panko crumbs toasted in browned butter and harissa.

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It's also good with some crispy prosciutto.  Just take a slice of prosciutto and crisp it in a non-stick pan.  Sort of like incredibly thin bacon.  Then either lay it on the tart or crumble it on top. 

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I found another asparagus dish from a discussion thread we had back in 2011 talking about Copper River Salmon.  It's a dish with a lot of ingredients and steps, but on occasion I'll go all out like this.  But you can also just take a few of the elements to make the prep easier and gets just as good of a result.  The salmon and Asparagus Veloute along with Asparagus Salad and Vinaigrette would be delicious.

 

Copper River Salmon, Asparagus Veloute' , Shaved Asparagus Salad, Hazelnuts and Oil, Apple Cider Vinaigrette. 

Salmon with Asparagus.jpg

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Asparagus season is well underway here in Eastern Washington and it's been a very good crop so far.  The price at our local markets is $1.79 a pound.  Granted I live in Spokane and our asparagus is harvested just a couple hours drive away in the Pasco-Walla Walla area.  With that, it reminded me of our asparagus cook-off.  I'll be sharing a few of my newer dishes, but in the meantime, anyone been cooking with this years asparagus?

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I made asparagus soup the other day. It was delicious. My photographs didn't do it justice, though. I posted about it here on the dinner topic. I'll make it again and post a better photo later. In the meantime, I want to recommend the recipe for Asparagus Soup, courtesy of @JAZ and @Dave the Cook: Asparagus Soup.

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I posted this over in the dinner topic, but it's proper home is right here.  This is a more chunky type of cream of asparagus soup.  The recipe calls for cream, but I've made two batches this spring, the first one using cream.  Then for the second batch I used half and half which I preferred over full cream.  I think half and half lets more of the asparagus flavor come through.

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Ingredients-

1 lb. fresh asparagus

1/2 cup chicken stock

3/4 cup cream

1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

dash cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

blanched asparagus tips and sliced asparagus for garnish

 

Instructions-

Heat 4 cups salted water to a boil in a heavy stockpot. Cut the white stalk ends off the end of the asparagus. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus and drain.

Reserve some of the asparagus tips and slice some asparagus to garnish the soup.

Cut the asparagus spears into 1" pieces and place in a blender. Add the chicken stock and start the blender on low speed. Add the half and half and continue to blend, then add the tarragon and lemon juice. Continue to puree the asparagus soup, adding more half and half to your desired consistency. Season the soup with cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.

You can store the cream of asparagus, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just before serving heat the cream of asparagus in a saucepan over medium heat.

Ladle the cream of asparagus into bowls and garnish with asparagus tips and sliced asparagus.

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One of my favorite dishes, if you can find a good cantaloupe at the same time you can get good fresh asparagus, is to roast the asparagus with salt, pepper and olive oil and arrange in a circle on a big plate. In the center of the circle, put a mix of cubed cantaloupe and cubed fresh mozzarella, dressed with a viniagrette of lemon juice, white balsamic and neutral oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs of your choice -- I like tarragon, parsley and basil. You can add chunked grilled or poached chicken to make a nice light entree for a warm day.

 

My daughter's mother-in-law served this at a luncheon for her baby shower. Not sure where she got the recipe.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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39 minutes ago, kayb said:

One of my favorite dishes, if you can find a good cantaloupe at the same time you can get good fresh asparagus, is to roast the asparagus with salt, pepper and olive oil and arrange in a circle on a big plate. In the center of the circle, put a mix of cubed cantaloupe and cubed fresh mozzarella, dressed with a viniagrette of lemon juice, white balsamic and neutral oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs of your choice -- I like tarragon, parsley and basil. You can add chunked grilled or poached chicken to make a nice light entree for a warm day.

 

My daughter's mother-in-law served this at a luncheon for her baby shower. Not sure where she got the recipe.

That just reminded me of a dish I did years ago, and I'll search for the photo.  It was a Midori melon sorbet I made with the Japanese liquer Midori.  Then Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.  Sort of my take on prosciutto wrapped in melon. Your dish above sounds delicious.

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Tonight we had asparagus with sweet and sour gochujang sauce.  Really good.  I saved the tough asparagus bits and put them in the freezer.  When I have enough I'll use them as a base for soup.  Happily, the local asparagus season has just started 

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  • 9 months later...

I bought these very thin ones yesterday (from Mexico). Tasted raw and a total bore. Any suggestions on a method that will bring our flavor but not end up limp noodles? My inclination is a toss with olive oil salt only and under hot broiler close to heat source for just a flash. I never buy them so thin but they were cheap and perky.

 

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I mostly roast mine, and it works nicely. I probably cook 'em to a degree you'd consider sacrilegious - until they're somewhat charred and the tips of the skinnier ones are actually crunchy - but they're sweet and delicious that way.

 

I generally favor pencil-thin stems for general purpose use, but those really skinny ones show up frequently in my neck of the woods at about this time (the ones I blanched and froze recently were super-skinny, the ones at the same store on my next trip were normal sized). Most are fine, but you'll get the occasionally woody one.

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We just steam our asparagus and eat it with butter.  We do eat quite a lot of it.  Mostly we like the rather thin ones, but last week Ed bought just about the fattest asparagus I've ever seen.  Oh, I thought, these are going to have lots of tough ends.  And I was so surprised, that fat as they were, the entire stalk was soft and completely edible when steamed.  

 

Looked back at the first page of this topic and found my entry all about our asparagus patch which supplied us for years...until the year of the massive renovations when the many large trucks completely destroyed it.  

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

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Oh I go simple but these are so so thin. Tomorrow the quick broil or roast  - will report back. Power company still thinking they will shut area down shortly so don;t want tostart electric oven. 

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I blanch asparagus in boiling water for ~1 minute (in a fry pan water boiling on high heat). That gives them that deep green color.

They end up crisp. (remove 1inch from bottom- its usually dry and stringy, save for soups)

Take out and dry on paper towel and then quick high heat fry in oil/butter (only a little oil to stop the butter burning) to get that char look.

 

Too long on either step and they will soften. Asparagus must be fresh - week old and they keep the taste but not the crispness

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34 minutes ago, Bernie said:

Too long on either step and they will soften. Asparagus must be fresh - week old and they keep the taste but not the crispness

Yes good method The twiglets (referring to model Twiggy) have a bit more age in transit from Mexico.

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 followed @chromedome's inclination and roasted half the bundle. Just salt and olive oil. 400F. Tiny squeeze of finally excellent orange from tree (super late season). This is 1/2 the sheet pan - going back to polish it off. Thought since so noodley and I like the orange maybe toss the rest after roasting with a pasta that mimics like linguine in a garlic, black pepper  & orange olive oil. We shall see. 

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

I just eat the really thin aparagus spears raw in salads - or use as 'soldiers'with soft boiled eggs.

I tried but these were w/o flavor raw. and yes I gave them time on the back of tongue but naaww

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  • 2 months later...

Did a new asparagus recipe this season, grilled with a chive blossom hollandaise.  The chives are the one plant I can always rely on to come back even if we have a cold, snowy winter.  And the chive blossoms are delicious.  It's fresh asparagus season here and we get it from the fields around Walla Walla, WA, cut daily and then brought up here, about a two-hour drive.  The price right now is $1.59 a pound.  I just brush the spears with olive oil and grill, then season with salt and pepper.

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Sorry, no pics, but a couple of days ago I made this first course: blanched and chilled, light coating of olive oil, sprinkled with toasted Turkish pine nuts, chopped mint, and Maldon sea salt, dotted with a bit of 10-year balsamic.

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41 minutes ago, Alex said:

Sorry, no pics, but a couple of days ago I made this first course: blanched and chilled, light coating of olive oil, sprinkled with toasted Turkish pine nuts, chopped mint, and Maldon sea salt, dotted with a bit of 10-year balsamic.

That sounds delicious.

 

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47 minutes ago, David Ross said:

That sounds delicious.

 

 

Thanks. 'Twas. The mint (foraged from a neighbor's yard) was the key ingredient. Well, the very fresh asparagus, too.

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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